Optus has introduced near real-time usage alerts for mobile customers in a bid to combat “bill shock”.
Bill shock occurs when post-paid telco service customers receive their monthly bills and are caught off-guard as the how much they actually spent.
This can happen due to a number of factors including uncertainty over what is included in a mobile or internet plan and unintentionally exceeding the set usage limit.
In June, the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) made a number of recommendations for the telco industry to prevent bill shock and reduce customer complaints including offering real-time usage monitoring tools for services.
Optus postpaid mobile customers can now receive notifications on their handsets when they’re overseas.
Notifications will be sent within one hour of when a customer first uses their handset abroad for data downloads.\
Customers can then choose to disable their data roaming service if they don’t want to be charged for anymore.
Should a customer continue to use data roaming, Optus will send out a notification for every 15MBs used.
According to Optus director government and corporate affairs, Maha Krishnapillai, the company has been working on this issue for two and a half years.
“We have more than 30,000 people travelling overseas every month in our business market and [customers] will now get an alert which says ‘you are about to use data roaming’,” he said.
“This was possible to do previously if customers set it up through our IT systems online but we are now making it mandatory and effectively everybody will get that.”
Optus has plans to roll out a similar system in Australia. It is looking to sent SMS alters to post-paid mobile customers when they exceed 80 per cent of their included money usage value which covers voice, text messages and data.
Should customers spend more than $20 on services excluded in their caps, they will receive a SMS alert as well. Exclusions usually include international calls and premium SMS services.
These changes will be implemented over the coming months, according to Optus.
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